Felony-Murder Rule (common Law) Flashcards Preview

Criminal Law > Felony-Murder Rule (common Law) > Flashcards

Flashcards in Felony-Murder Rule (common Law) Deck (11):

one is guilty of murder if death results from conduct during commission or attempted commission of any felony.

Felony-Murder Rule (common Law)


Imposes liability for murder based on culpability required for underlying felony without separate proof of culpability with regard to death.

Felony-Murder Rule


killing can be done negligently or even accidentally

Felony-Murder Rule


Deter felons from committing felonies in violent manner

Felony-Murder Rule


-For felony murder rule to operate, homicide must occur within the res gestae (things done to commit) the felony.
-Res gestae of felony continues after commission of crime while felon flees scene until she reaches place of temporary safety.
-Must be causal connection between felony & death.

Res Gestae Requirment


No serious empirical evidence to support deterrence.
In many cases, rule unnecessary. (Another form of malice aforethought is provable.)
In few cases where rule is needed, likely perpetrator did not expect anyone to die and could not be deterred.

Utilitarian Argument Against Rule


When applied to accidental homicides, results in disproportional punishment.
Intent to commit a felony transferred to homicide, which is unfair.

Retributive Argument Against Rule


Rational classification and proportional grading of offenses
Condemnation – reaffirming the sanctity of human life
Clear definition of offenses and sentence consequences
Optimal allocation of criminal justice resources
Minimization of utility of perjury

Justification for Rule


Many states limit rule to killings that arise during commission of inherently dangerous felonies.

Inherently Dangerous Felony-Murder Limitation


Some courts consider felony in abstract (ignoring facts of case and looking at definition of crime); ask whether felony, by its nature, cannot be committed without creating substantial risk that someone will be killed. i.e., only if felony, as defined, always (no matter how committed) creates substantial risk of death.

In-the-Abstract Test


Other courts consider whether felony is dangerous in light of the factual circumstances of the particular case.
Ask whether felony in this case was committed in dangerous manner.

Facts-of-the-Case Test